Monday, January 26, 2015

Leaving Before The Rains Come by Alexandra Fuller

Posted first to Blog Critics as Book Review: 'Leaving before the Rains Come', A Memoir by Alexandra Fuller.

In Leaving before the Rains Come by Alexandra Fuller, we are given a lesson of difference in background and thoughts, as well as how those very differences can pull people together or rip them apart. Alexandra comes from a background many simply would not understand. Born of very diverse parentage in Rhodesia’s war torn landscape, she knows both the beauty and hardship of the land. With a British father and a Rhodesian mother, she is raised with varying dynamics.  While her parent’s background is in no way alike, it is their love of Africa that keeps their own love alive. In a land where death and weapons are an everyday reality, Alexandra has built her own personality off her perceptions and happenings in a country of both beauty and death.

Falling in love with an American she leaves her home to make her life with her husband in America. It is here that she falls in love a second time with another land and its beauty. Yet for her Africa is the essence of who she is, she is wild and untamed like much of the life she left behind. Her husband is very different in manner from her own, calmer and more refined.

While it is this very contrast that draws her and makes her feel safe it is the differences that also ultimately destroy the fragile bond. The presence of such basic upbringings is unable to hold the tenuous bonding of such diverse backgrounds and feelings.

There is an essence of bravery to put your life and perceived failings on paper and in front of people who may judge you harshly. Yet Alexandra seems to find her own peace by the sharing of her pain. Not surprising in a way, she has struggled and survived in a deep and harsh environment, and liberty has a different meaning. To take the pain from inside and move it to the outside gives a different freedom and you can feel the healing as you move through her words.

Her experiences and words give you a look into a country that many have only heard of. The descriptions help you to visualize the abundance and depravity, the pain and the joy that exists, with the looming sense of death just often inches away. She helps us to understand how your heart can stay in touch even in the most hazardous conditions, and yet she also describes another type of beauty in her adopted county.  The comparisons are interesting, and while the dangers lurk in both countries, there is far more fear and frenzy in that from her homeland.

If you enjoy reading of differing cultures and backgrounds and find interest in what creates the fissures between human beings you will enjoy this work. The rawness and beauty of Africa, a country most only come close to in the news, comes to life in the pages of Fuller’s words.

Rating 4/5

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